Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that his party now has the "remote control of power" in Maharashtra, despite winning fewer seats than the BJP in recently concluded Assembly election. It is to be noted that the term "remote control of power" was used by Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray when he used this term to explain the chain of command during BJP-Shiv Sena's rule in Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999.
"The Sena won less seats this time, 56 compared to 63 in 2014, but it has the remote control of power. The dream that the Shiv Sena will drag itself behind the BJP is busted (after poll results). A cartoon showing a tiger (Sena's identity) holding a lotus (BJP's symbol) in its hand tells a lot about the current scenario. Not taking anyone for granted is the message," Raut said in his column 'Rokhthok' in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana',
Raut also hinted that Shiv Sena would not take back its demands and the BJP will have to accept the party's demands if it wants to form the government with Sena's support. "The BJP's strategy of contesting 164 seats and winning 144 of them was rejected by voters. The election result is the defeat of unethical thoughts of increasing the tally by getting key Congress-NCP leaders to join the BJP, by luring them or threatening them," Raut noted.
In a related development, two MLAs of Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP) and two other independent MLAs on Sunday offered their support to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. PJP chief Bacchu Kadu and his party MLA Rajkumar Patel met Shiv Sena chief Thackeray on Saturday night and extended their support to him. "We discussed a range of issues related to our areas including migration, employment, and farming with Uddhav ji. We have two MLAs and after Uddhav ji's assurance over these issues, we have decided to support Shiv Sena," said Bacchu Kadu, MLA of Achalpur assembly constituency.
The BJP and Shiv Sena contested the Assembly election as allies and managed to win an absolute majority with the BJP winning 105 seats and Shiv Sena 56. Shortly after the announcement of results, Sena chief Udhdav Thackeray addressed a press conference and reminded the BJP about the 50:50 formula agreed between the two parties before Lok Sabha election. As per the 50:50 formula, the Sena wants BJP to give chief minister's post to Sena for 2.5 years.
Meanwhile, BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to visit Mumbai on October 30 to meet the newly-elected MLAs of the BJP. It is likely that Shah would also meet Uddhav Thackeray during his visit to Mumbai. Sources said that Shah and Uddhav would hold discussions over the 50:50 formula and try to reach an agreement in order to form the new government in the state.